You notice that you have gained a few extra pounds. Jeans are fitting tighter than normal or maybe not at all! So, you make a pledge to get the pounds off. You join a gym and kick up the cardio, start eating everything “you should” and restrict your calorie intake. After 2, 4, or 6 weeks, you step on the scale expecting grand results but nothing has changed! How frustrating to work so hard and yet your body and scale isn’t responding. You’re not alone.
Here are three common reasons it can be difficult to lose the weight:
- Stress and Cortisol Imbalance
Stress = weight gain. Cortisol is the stress hormone that is produced in the adrenal glands. Cortisol is released in acute stressful situations and signals other hormones to be released to speed up our reaction time. For example, if you were “this close” to getting in a big car accident, you probably experienced the increase in heart rate, armpit sweating, nerves firing, and fist clenching. These reactions originated from the adrenal gland.
Cortisol is also released with chronic stress, which most experience daily. From a stressful work environment, an unstable relationship with spouse, family or friends, physical health ailments, the list goes on. If this happens over a period of months to years, your adrenal glands get exhausted. This leads to adrenal fatigue, a contributor to weight gain, especially in the abdomen. This cortisol imbalance needs to be addressed before any diet and exercise regimen becomes effective for weight loss.
- Underactive Thyroid
Another endocrine system involved with weight is the thyroid gland. Thyroid hormone is the key that starts the metabolism engine in all the cells of the body. It helps regulate the menstrual cycle, immune system, and even mood. A sluggish gland leads to sluggish metabolism, where you may feel extreme fatigue and low mood.
The thyroid gland is highly susceptible to toxicity and can lead to autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s. In addition, certain nutrient deficiencies (especially minerals) can contribute to a sluggish thyroid gland. If you are experiencing a “stuck” scale, it would be wise to get your thyroid tested along with antibodies. Even if your thyroid tests come back normal, having elevated antibodies can still be contributing to a sluggish and inflamed thyroid gland. This leads to the inability to lose those extra pounds.
Toxins come from the environment, household chemicals, food, water, body care products, and more. When our bodies are overloaded, the liver (the major detoxifying organ of the body) becomes sluggish. When the liver is sluggish, toxins start to back up in our system and we can’t eliminate waste as effectively. We hold onto old hormones and this leads to weight gain.
You can’t avoid all toxins, but you can try to limit your exposure. Using a clean water filter, choosing non-GMO organic produce, using DIY household cleaners, etc, can help reduce toxic load and free up the body’s ability to metabolize and lose weight. Completing a detox program can be another effective way of supporting the liver and eliminating toxins from the body.
If you find yourself in that frustrating place doing all the right things and not losing the weight, it may be time to explore the above reasons. The doctors at Today Integrative Health + Wellness have many tools to investigate the root cause and start addressing them right away. Only a few simple changes can set you on your trajectory to lasting weight loss! Other potential side effects may include feeling more energy, clear thinking and elevated mood!
Written by: Dr. Haylee Nye